Exams have hit, cold weather is here and the holidays are just around the corner...but you have a problem: you're sick! It's inevitable as a college student; lack of sleep, hard work and the dry weather always creeps up on us only to make us sneezy, stuffy and feeling like sh*t. This stuff was a lot easier to deal with when living at home where we had our parents to make us soup and bring us food, but what do we do now? This is naked and afraid: flu season addition.
1. Drink plenty of fluids.
Fluids do not include Starbucks (sorry). Water is your best friend when you're sick so use it to your advantage. It will help hydrate you while making you have to pee (a lot) which will help get all the sickness out!
2. Eat honey.
Honey is waaaay better than cough syrup, plus it doesn't have all the weird scientific-sounding chemically things in it either. Just eat a spoon-full of it once a day or choose to mix a spoon-full of it in hot tea (or just hot water).
3. Use hot water bottles.
Hot water bottles are amazing, especially if you're having sinus problems (or just have the flu). Fill up a hot water bottle with hot tap water and place it wherever you have stuffiness or aches. It's a huge help! (P.S. don't have a hot water bottle? You can find them for cheap here or your local drug store.)
4. Take long, hot showers.
The steam from a hot shower works as a DIY humidifier that you don't have to pay for. Taking long, hot showers is a great way to relieve stuffiness and swelling. Once you get home (or get access to a bath tub), hot baths work just as well, just make sure there's steam.
5. DIY humidifier part two: washcloths.
If you're not a fan of standing in the shower for long periods of time, or find yourself needing a humidifier in the middle of day, washcloths work just as well. Soak your washcloth in hot tap water and place it over your face, taking deep breaths. I always finds that this helps me tremendously.
6. Peppermint anything.
'Tis the season for peppermint, especially when you're sick. Peppermint is a great way to clear up stuffiness. Grab a candy cane or some peppermint tea and indulge! Want to take the extra step? Find some peppermint essential oil and use it in multiple ways: put a dab on your chest to breathe in while you sleep or mix it in the hot water you use for your washcloth DIY humidifier.
7. Eat spicy foods.
Everyone knows that spicy foods make your nose run and this is a good thing when you're sick. What I like to do is simply add hot sauce to my favorite soup. Whether it's Tabasco or Sriracha, it always does the trick!
8. Don't eat a lot of dairy.
Lay off the lattes, ice cream and milk; dairy is not good for you when you're congested. I've had bad experiences with dairy and the flu before that have resulted me in being unable to breath and/or throwing up, so take my advice and stay away from it.
9. Have plenty of Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is the best thing for you to put in your body when you're sick (next to water). I know that my dining hall has plenty of oranges this time of year, so stock up on some and make sure to eat one (or two) a day. Orange juice and vitamin supplements also work, but a plain 'ole orange will give you the best, most natural source.
10. Get plenty of rest.
I know the word "rest" is a foreign term for college students, but this is critical if you want to get better before the holidays. Make sure you're not overdoing yourself and you're taking naps when your body asks for them. Get at least 10 hours of sleep when you're sick in order to recover. Simply getting some sleep will help you feel better way faster.
Lead Image Credit: Morgue File
Disclaimer: This should not replace the advice of a medical professional and if you're not getting better, you should go see one.